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Lions 53 Man Roster Prediction

Training camp has reached full swing and the pre-season starts this Thursday. It’s a great time to predict the 53 man roster for each ball NFC North team. We’ll start with the division favorite Detroit Lions.

Offense-25

QB-2 Stafford, Orlovsky

Matt Stafford and Dan Orlovsky will be the Lions first and second string QBs. Rookie Jake Rudock has improved but hasn’t looked NFL caliber in camp. Rudock should be stashed on the practice squad.

RB/FB-5-Adullah, Ridley, Riddick, Zenner, Burton

Abdullah will be the top back and Stevan Ridley should get plenty of carries as the power back. Theo Riddick is a very good receiving weapon at RB and should get third RB carries. Zach Zenner has shown more promise and appears to be healthy after a brutal injury in Week 6 last year. Michael Burton will be the Lions full back. Bowling ball George Winn will be cut and 7th round pick Dwayne Washington goes to the practice squad.

WR-6 Jones, Tate, Boldin, Jones, Lee, Roberts with Fuller on PUP

The Lions have a tough choice for the 5th and 6th WRS. Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin are clearly the top 3 WRS. TJ Jones has solidified himself as the number 4 WR with special teams ability.

The fifth and sixth WR spots come down to special teams and finding their niche on the team. Andre Roberts has shown good special teams ability and can play outside or slot WR. Jay Lee is an undrafted free agent but has had a great camp and can be a deep threat.

Quinshad Davis has redzone ability but is too slow. Corey Fuller is injured with a foot injury and should be a PUP candidate into the season. Andre Caldwell showed some veteran ability but has been hurt. Jeremy Kerley hasn’t performed well and should be cut.

Tight End- 3 plus one PUP Ebron, Wick, Mulligan with Pettigrew on PUP

The Lions have major injury concerns with Eric Ebron (ankle) and Brandon Pettigrew (knee) after losing third tight end Tim Wright (ACL). Matthew Mulligan and Cole Wick have been taking first team reps with Ebron out. Ebron will hopefully be ready by Week 1 or sooner and Mulligan and Wick will be the 2nd and 3rd tight ends. Mulligan will be cut when Pettigrew returns.

Offensive Line- 9 Decker, Tomlinson, Swanson, Warford, Reiff, Ola, Schwartz, Glasgow, Dahl

The Lions have better depth on the offensive line with Ola, Dahl, Glasgow and Schwartz on the roster. The Lions top backup left tackle is Reiff moving to the left side and Ola or Schwartz playing right tackle. The Lions could only keep 9 offensive linemen due to Schwartz’s versatility if they cut Lucas. This opens up a spot on defense. Lucas has been brutal at right tackle but does have some experience. In the end, the Lions need a 6th CB and cut Lucas.

Specialists- 3 Prater, Martin and Mulbach

Muhlbach has outperformed 6th round pick Jimmy Landes. Landes could go to the practice squad but the Lions wasted a pick on a long snapper.

Defense- 25

Defensive Line-9 Ngata, Walker, Ansah, Taylor, Gilberry, Robinson, Charles, Reid, Zettel

The Lions are deep at defensive tackle and end up cutting Gabe Wright (4th round pick 2015) and Kyri Thonrton (great camp in 2016 and former 3rd round pick by Green Bay). The Lions are thin at the 4th defensive end spot and could put Zettel on the practice squad and keep Brandon Copeland (special teams and some experience from 2015) or add a veteran DE.

Linebacker-6 Levy, Whitehead, Van Noy, Bynes, Bostic, Williams

DeAndre Levy better be healthy by Week 1. Tahir Whitehead and Kyle Van Noy look like the starting Mike and SAM LBs. Josh Bynes is the top backup and Jon Bostic should be the backup Mike at this point. Fifth round pick Antwione Williams earns the last roster spot beating out veterans Khaseeme Greene and Zavier Gooden.

Cornerbacks 6- Slay, Lawson, Diggs, Bademosi, Carter, Walls

The Lions have a good top 3 but are weak at 4th, 5th and 6th CB. Alex Carter (3rd round pick in 2015) has struggled in camp in his first real camp after missing last year with injury. Darrin Walls has experience but is still a poor backup that makes the roster. Bademosi is retained for special teams play but the Lions could be in trouble if he is required to play defensive snaps. The Lions could scour the waiver wire like they did when adding Rashean Mathis in 2013 for their 4th or 5th CB.

Safety- 4 Quin, Bush, Wilson and Killebrew

The Lions are set with Quin and Bush starting at safety. Wilson will get some playing time in big nickel situations. Miles Killebrew (4th round pick) is very raw but beats out special team ace Don Carey and another young player in Isiah Johnson (second year undrafted player).

Note: Isiah Johnson or Don Carey (safety) or Gabe Wright/Thornton (DT) or Brandon Copeland (DE) or Cornelius Lucas (OT) could have a roster spot if the Lions only keep 5 WRs by cutting either Lee or Roberts.

Overall

The Lions have a deep roster with good starters. The Lions have some tough decision to make at WR, safety and both lines. They could use more depth at DE and CB with a veteran presence but overall have a great roster. We’ll see if this roster shakes out during the pre-season.